Is science sometimes in danger of getting tunnel vision? Recently published ebook author, Ian Miller, looks at other possible theories arising from data that we think we understand. Can looking problems in a different light give scientists a different perspective?

Planetary Formation Update – November

There were three papers in November that pleased me quite a bit because they gave additional support to my theory of planetary formation. The first (Earth Planet. Sci Lett. 385: 110) examined the Se and Te systematics of mantle derived peridotites on Earth, and showed that the ratios are not consistent with melt depletion alone. The results indicate no firm evidence for chondritic S-Se-Te signatures in the primitive upper mantle, which challenges the simplistic perception that near-chondritic Se/Te ratios may readily trace the Late Veneer composition. This is of importance because these ratios are often cited as "proof" of a massive late accretion of chondrites, which would be the source of the volatiles on Earth. In my opinion, the volatiles were accreted by other means, and it is good to see the "opposition view" have its main evidence removed. The second (Nature  503: 513 ) showed that a meteorite from Mars is a regolith breccia with zircons of an age 4.428 + 25 My. The evidence implies that Martian crust formed in about the first 100 My of Martian history, which in turn implies no magma ocean. The magma ocean is a requirement of the standard theory where massive embryos collide to form protoplanets, and the inherent gravitational energy would provide so much heat that a magma ocean is inevitable. If no magma ocean, then a different mechanism of formation is required. Finally, (Planet. Space Sci. 87: 130) a trough within Noctis Labyrinthus displays a diversity of hydrated minerals and fluvial channels, including opal, Al clays, gypsum and polyhydrated sulphates., and furthermore, these different minerals had to be laid down under different conditions. Accordingly, there should have been several periods of aqueous alteration.
For those interested in seeing more of my theory of planetary formation, Planetary Formation and Biogenesis will be available for 99 cents  as a special promo on (and 99p on – these are the lowest prices permitted on each case) on December Friday 13, and the prices increase daily for about 5 days until they reach normal price. Also on the promo is my novel Red Gold, which is about fraud during the settlement of Mars.  This ebook was written in the early 1990s, and to expose the fraud, a surprising discovery was required. The surprise was the discovery of what remained of the Martian atmosphere, which provided the nitrogen fertilizer necessary to make the settlement viable. The very first version that led me to the theory in the first book is outlined in the appendix, so this is one of the very few examples of how a theory got started. How important this is depends on whether the theory is correct, and I would love to know the answer to that one.
As an aside, that is the main difference between the experimentalist and the theoretician. If the experimentalist gets the wrong idea, the evidence usually (but not always) becomes evident quickly, such as when the wrong result is obtained. For the theoretician, the required evidence may not be easily obtained, and he is kept in suspense for some time. Thus Peter Higgs had to wait from the mid 1960s until now. At my age, I cannot afford that time, so I probably will never know for sure. Of course, I am convinced!
Posted by Ian Miller on Dec 2, 2013 4:32 AM Europe/London

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